Continued from yesterday and my interview with Monica Adair, here’s part 2 of 3 on the #BuildingEast Interviews.
Enjoy the interview with Stephen today. Monica Adair yesterday. John Leroux tomorrow. #BuildingEast opens Friday at the Saint John Arts Centre.
#BuildingEast is an exciting opportunity for you to display your work.
Why now? Was there an external motivator?
We have been working like mad for the last two years and finally [Architecture is the ‘slow art’] have built work! We are very excited about the potential for the Maritimes and want to show people what we have done in our first two years as a company – and, at the same time, find out what peoples vision is for the Maritimes in the next 10 years. What do people want their built culture to be?
Curating your own work usually presents a challenge.
How did you go about curating the show?
It is hard and requires a constant dialogue from within. This is not easy to do in a small office as everyone is highly involved in each project, so nobody is impartial to any one aspect. I think at this moment, there are so many ideas swirling around that its hard to get perspective on our work as a whole and that is one aspect I am excited about seeing on the 18th. That discovery of seeing it presented as a whole and stepping back to asses…..and hopefully its not garbage!
#BuildingEast presents a very unique challenge.
We have one of the most volatile, extreme climates in the country. How do you adapt a minimalist style to this climate?
We start with trying to design the most efficient layout possible by being creative about how people live or work. Building small minimizes your exposure and heat loss [and saves money]. It pains me to see these ginormous mansions being built that have empty rooms 99% of the time which the owner is paying to heat. Why?
In terms of design, tell me about your process and inspiration.
Our studio process is inspired by the intersection of context [wither it is regional or site specific] & that of the clients specific program. By thinking about how to simplify complex site & programmatic challenges multiple ideas will emerge. From there, we use an iterative design process with constant dialogue with the client in order to arrive at a solution that meets their functional needs, responds to its context and hopefully produces something that inspires.
How do you reconcile minimalism’s strict clutter-free visual with a client’s real life?
(It looks great in magazines, but the truth is normal human beings can’t live without any signs of life).
Do you find you have to convince a lot of clients to go the contemporary route, or do they come to you because you’re known for it?
It’s a combination really. We have a hard time describing our work because we don’t really design to any style – contemporary or otherwise. That being said, our work would most closely be associated with contemporary and so far people are coming to us because of that. We try to live clutter free as much as we can, but fail just like everybody else, especially with our 1 year old Hugo stashing toys wherever and whenever.
A significant majority of New Brunswick architectural firms are…
… one man shows. I don’t know why that is, but they must know something we don’t.
What’s it like being one of the very few young architectural firms in the province?
What pressures or responsibilities do you feel that entails? What freedoms does it allow?
Tough question. The freedom of being a new firm in the province is that anything is possible from our clients perspective. We don’t have something we are expected to produce [yet]. The pressure is that we have to work harder to make relationships with contractors and product reps in the province – which is a good thing to pursue anyway.
What’s your dream commission?
A school – with a descent budget and a vision to create creative spaces for kids
Is less really more?
Hmmmm, lets just say that simplicity is king in my mind. It usually looks like less, but not always.
What causes more lack of sleep: your work or your son?
Work. Monica may not agree with that one.
You two are incredibly stylish.
You’re not the turtleneck and thick-rimmed glasses cliché of an architect. Tell me a little about how you define your fashion sense and how that relates to your architecture.
Merci Barb. I don’t think too much about my look as it pertains to a definition of myself, but maybe I should [I actually want a turtleneck! Ha]. I like changing it up and get tired of wearing the same thing I suppose; I try to stay away from trends and would rather wear something [somewhat] unique. I suppose you could say we try to do the same with our building designs.
Exactly how adorable would it be if Hugo grew up to be a stylish contemporary architect just like his mom and dad?
If he buys the business from us, adorable off the charts!
See you there!
( & Ry)
The Majumder Manor website is full of information about the project.
ACRE’s first blog post went live today – check it out to learn more!